By George Wharton
Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Cartierdoc
Originally constructed as the deep sea ore carrier Ems Ore; this vessel was built by Schlieker-Werft, Hamburg, West Germany and launched October 17, 1959 for Transatlantic Bulk Carriers, Monrovia, Liberia. The Ems Ore was built with her pilothouse amidship, her original dimensions being 546'00" loa x 73'10" beam x 40'02" depth; 20,000 dwt. She is powered by a single B & W model 774 VTBF-160 7-cylinder diesel engine rated at 8,750 b.h.p. burning intermediate grade 180 fuel giving her a rated service speed of 17.3 m.p.h. The Ems Ore was used in the ore trade between Venezuela and Europe.
The Ems Ore was one of three identical vessels acquired by Hall Corporation Shipping Ltd., Montreal, PQ in 1976 to carry Labrador ore from Gulf of St. Lawrence ports to the steel mills in Hamilton, ON. The vessel was taken to Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon, PQ where a complete new forebody was installed from the engine room forward; her pilothouse and midship cabins were modernized and moved to the stern; a 16-cylinder 1,200 horsepower Caterpillar diesel bow thruster and a controllable pitch propeller also being installed. She retained her original power plant. The vessel was renamed Montcliffe Hall in 1977 with the conversion work being completed during the winter of 1977/78. This newly converted Great Lakes bulk carrier has 17 hatches feeding into 6 holds where she can carry 26,250 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 29,100 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 28 feet 3 inches. Other capacities include 12,840 tons of water ballast and 550.5 tons of fuel. She displaces 8,702.4 tons lightship and 41,795 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft.
The Montcliffe Hall began trading on the Great Lakes on April 18, 1978. The other two vessels acquired by Hall at that time were the Rhine Ore which was renamed Steelcliffe Hall now sailing as the Windoc(2) and the Ruhr Ore which was renamed Cartiercliffe Hall now laid up as the Algontario. On February 26, 1981; the Montcliffe Hall suffered a fire while in lay-up at Sarnia, ON. The fire was reportedly started by a worker's torch and severely damaged the navigation bridge and the two decks immediately below.
The Montcliffe Hall was acquired by N. M. Paterson & Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay, ON in 1988 following the liquidation of the Halco fleet. She was renamed Cartierdoc(2) at that time. Also acquired was the Steelcliffe Hall which was renamed Windoc(2). The Cartierdoc name honors the early explorer Jacques Cartier who discovered the St. Lawrence River valley in 1534/35. The "doc" follows a tradition in the naming of many vessels in the Paterson fleet referring to the "D"ominion "o"f "C"anada.
The first Cartierdoc was a canal sized bulk carrier built for the Paterson fleet in 1928 by the shipyards of Swan, Hunter, and Wigham Richardson at Wallsend-on-Tyne, England. She was powered by a small triple expansion steam engine with 2 coal-fired Scotch boilers. Her final dimensions were 259' length x 43'03" beam x 24' depth; 3,144 dwt. The vessel was sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne, ON in 1961; who, in turn, sold the hull to Tank Truck Transports Ltd., Sarnia, ON. The hull was modified to a liquid chemical carrying barge and was renamed Chembarge No.3. After being sold again for use as a sunken temporary breakwall, she was raised and scrapped in 1970.
There have been only a couple of minor notable incidents involving the Cartierdoc(2). On June 15, 1997; she lost power while upbound in ballast in the Welland Canal running soft aground approximately 2,500 feet from the Homer St. bridge in St. Catharines, ON. She was pulled free and towed stern first by the McKeil Marine tug Argue Martin. The Cartierdoc was moored just above Lock 2 for repairs. A malfunctioning turbocharger was the cause. On June 23, 2000; the Cartierdoc made contact with the Norfolk Southern rail bridge that passes over the Maumee River in Toledo, OH. She had just finished loading grain and was negotiating a section of river where the ship channel is less than 110 feet wide. The river current wedged her against the bridge. With tug assistance, she was pulled free. There was only superficial damage to the bridge fenders and cosmetic hull damage above the waterline.
With the exception of remaining idle in 1993, the Cartierdoc continues to be an active bulk carrier in the Paterson fleet. Typically, she carries grain products from the Great Lakes to St. Lawrence River ports with return cargoes of iron ore to ports such as Hamilton, ON, Chicago, IL, and Burns Harbor, IN. The Cartierdoc, similar to her fleetmate Windoc, can be easily recognized by their unique superstructure design.
Overall dimensions Length 730'00" Beam 75'09" Depth 40'02" Capacity (tons) 29,100